The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details    

Case Files Released: UK Reports (3) *

More details and pictures from the PJ case files - presented here as they were published.

All together then tragedy, 10 August 2008

First picture of the Tapas 7 seen together

All together then tragedy News of the World
First picture of the Tapas 7 seen together
THIS is the first picture of the Tapas 7 seen together at a beach bar just hours before Maddie was snatched.
They were captured on CCTV having drinks before making the 10-minute walk to the restaurant where they met the McCanns.
The digital time on the film is 5.59pm—about the time Gerry and Kate were picking Maddie up from kids club to get her ready for bed.
Among those shown are Dr Matthew Oldfield who would check on the McCann children at 9.30pm but crucially not see Madeleine. Dr David Payne, 41, the last person other than the McCanns to see the youngster alive, is also relaxing with a drink.
Jane Tanner, 38, is there too—the crucial witness who would later say she saw a man carry a child from the McCann's apartment at 9.15pm—45 minutes before Kate raised the alarm. Shortly after this image was captured they would all head off for an evening that will haunt them all for the rest of their lives.
We reveal two new suspects
TODAY we reveal TWO MORE e-fits of suspects Portuguese cops refused to publicise during their investigation.

Man in glasses and man spotted near the scene
SHADY: In glasses, and man spotted near the scene

Both the men above were seen acting suspiciously in the area around the McCann apartment before the kidnap. The one on the right approached holidaymaker Iris Morgan asking for money to help "young boys and girls". The man in sunglasses was also seen nearby by an unnamed witness. These new images emerged from the case files after two other e-fits of suspects were released last week.

Secrets of the Madeleine McCann dossier, 10 August 2008
Secrets of the Madeleine McCann dossier Sunday Mirror
Headline in paper edition: 'Tapas 7: Why we feared the police would frame us'
By Lori Campbell
Kate and Gerry McCann's "Tapas 7" friends refused to return to Portugal because they feared they were pawns in an elaborate plot to frame the couple.
And the group of friends believed they too could be made suspects if they returned to the country.
As police files into Madeleine's disappearance are opened, we can also reveal how:
Kate McCann was given a Do-It-Yourself guide to policing by UK cops after Portuguese police failed to find any clues themselves.
Local cops accused the McCanns of shedding crocodile tears just hours after their daughter was snatched.
The Portuguese police officer assigned to them as a family liaison officer criticised them for "reacting negatively to the work of this police force" and became irritated by Gerry's frequent emails.
The 30,000-page dossier reveals how the Tapas 7 decided not to go back to Portugal for a "reconstruction" in May this year because Portuguese police would not give them reassurances they would not be arrested.
The group were baffled as to why police were calling them back for the re-enactment a full year after Madeleine went missing, and demanded to be told how it would help the inquiry.
In an email to police chief Paulo Rebelo in April, the McCanns' friend Rachel Oldfield wrote: "We are still very uncertain of the motives in organising such a re-enactment.
"We feel we would be making ourselves and our families extremely vulnerable by returning."
The friends also hit out at Portuguese detectives' aggressive questioning when they were re-interviewed in the UK.
An email from Russell O'Brien and his wife Jane Tanner said: "The thrust of the... questions seemed only to focus on Kate and Gerry's culpability.
"After a year of lies, accusations and intrusion, I am sure that Mr Rebelo can appreciate our revulsion at what Kate and Gerry have been forced to endure."
The shocking state of the Portuguese investigation is laid bare in the police files, which reveal that British authorities gave Kate a police manual when she became increasingly desperate for ideas to find Madeleine. The technique book gives step-by-step instructions on solving crimes and was handed to the McCanns by British experts.
She desperately bombarded Portuguese police with suggestions on how to further their investigation. The GP even had to tell detectives to take blood samples from the twins in case they had been drugged by Madeleine's kidnapper - something Portuguese police had not thought to do. But they dismissed her ideas as "bizarre".
In his own statement, Inspector Ricardo Paiva, the Portuguese family liaison officer assigned to Kate and Gerry, said: "I noted certain strange behaviour on the part of the couple who were gradually reacting negatively to the work of this police force.
"I was repeatedly told by Kate - three months after Madeleine's disappearance - that the police should do blood analysis on the twins." Insp Paiva also said he became irritated by Gerry who would email him every lead the family received in the hunt for Madeleine.
He said: "Mostly they contained information of little credibility."
Inspector Jose Roque also accused frantic Kate and Gerry of faking tears in the first few hours of the hunt.
He said: "After the search I noticed an unusual situation. The parents were kneeling in their bedroom and they were crying. However, I did not see any tears despite the fact they were making sounds identical to crying."

Gerry McCann's torment over e-mail hoaxer, 10 August 2008
Gerry McCann's torment over e-mail hoaxer Sunday Mirror
Headline in paper edition: 'Gerry's e-mail hoaxer torment'
Gerry McCann sent emails begging for Madeleine not to be harmed to a conman trying to extort money from the family.
The man said he could tell Gerry and his wife who Madeleine's kidnappers were and where she was being kept in return for a reward of 2,000,000 euros (1.8m).
He demanded: "I want to have direct contact with Mr McCann himself.
"I know the hideout and kidnappers and that they are still around you. This is NO joke."
Gerry wrote back personally from the couple's base in Portugal near where Madeleine disappeared in the desperate hope that the emails could be genuine.
He said: "We are very interested in your information but as you understand we receive a lot of hoax information.
"We need to know the information is genuine. Can you give me proof that you know where Madeleine is and that she is well? Gerry Mc-Cann."
The emails were eventually traced to the internet cafe Smalle Haven in Eindhoven, Holland and the fraudster, who knew nothing about Madeleine's disappearance, was arrested a month later in Spain.

Dodgy trackers top a catalogue of police howlers, 10 August 2008
Dodgy trackers top a catalogue of police howlers The People
By Dean Rousewell
10 August 2008
Bungling Portuguese cops used DUFF sniffer dogs in the search for missing Madeleine McCann.
The animals had only been trained to follow scents in the countryside - yet four-year-old Maddie vanished from her family's holiday apartment a busy TOWN.
And the trackers weren't brought in for five days after the tot disappeared - even though experts said they should have been there within 48 hours.
When the dogs did finally arrive in Praia da Luz, they gave up the hunt after just 100 yards because they were confused by the stench of rotting food from a pile of binbags.
The appalling blunder is revealed in a damning report by Portuguese state prosecutors.
And it is just one of a catalogue of disastrous gaffes by detectives after the toddler went missing from the Ocean Club complex on May 3 last year.
The bungles began almost as soon as Maddie was reported lost.
Blood specks in her bedroom were missed by Portuguese police - only to be found by British cops when they were drafted in three months later.
Bedding was not forensically tested for traces of an abductor.
Cops failed to seal off the flat in the hours after the disappearance.
No fingertip search of local streets was carried out at the time - and house-to-house inquiries were not launched for 48 hours.
Two days passed before police got a list of other holidaymakers at the complex - by which time many of them had already flown home.
Border guards were only alerted about Maddie after 24 hours and coastguards were told nothing for 14 hours.
The catastrophic blunders continued after the shambles with the dogs.
Detectives spent hours poring over footprints found at the scene - which turned out to belong to policemen.
Forensic samples sent for analysis contained ash from cops' cigarettes.
Chief detective Goncalo Amaral, 47 - later thrown off the case after criticising British cops - was accused of taking boozy three-hour breaks.
Police only declared the McCanns' holiday flat a crime scene after two months - allowing 11 other tourists to contaminate vital evidence. And cops leaked stories to local media about Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry and British ex-pat Robert Murat, who were all named official suspects.
The prosecutors said: "Investigators worked with an enormous margin of error and achieved very little in terms of conclusive results, especially with regards to the fate of the unfortunate child."
The sniffer dog revelation infuriated Kate and Gerry, who were only recently ruled out as suspects.
A family friend said last night: "It is heartbreaking for them - but sadly it will be no surprise."

Madeleine search police 'untrained', 10 August 2008
Madeleine search police 'untrained' WalesOnline
Aug 11 2008
Most of the Portuguese police officers who looked for Rothley girl Madeleine McCann after her disappearance had no formal training in missing people searches, case files revealed.
Up to 100 personnel spent a week scouring an area up to 15km (9.3 miles) around the Algarve resort where the little girl vanished on May 3 last year. But they failed to find any clues to Madeleine's fate, and in July Portuguese detectives called in leading British expert Mark Harrison.
Mr Harrison, national search adviser for all UK police agencies in cases of missing people, homicides and abductions, reviewed the initial operations and advised on the inquiry's future strategy.
He noted that neither search co-ordinator Major Luis Sequeira nor most of his teams had received any training for the task of looking for the missing girl.
Between 80 and 100 people drawn from the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) local police, civil protection, fire brigade, Red Cross and urban police were involved in the searches.
In his report, dated July 23 last year, Mr Harrison wrote: "Major Sequeira has not benefited from any formal training or accreditation in the management of searching for missing persons.
"The search officers - with the exception of the search and rescue team dispatched from Lisbon - had not benefited from any formal training in search procedures."
The report, contained in police files made public last week, focuses on the possibility that Madeleine was murdered and her body hidden in areas previously scrutinised by police.
Mr Harrison highlighted an open area to the east of Praia da Luz, the village where the little girl disappeared, that afforded "many opportunities to dispose of a body" and recommended fresh searches there.
Most significantly, he advised that specialist sniffer dogs should be used to examine key sites such as the McCanns' holiday apartment and the home of official suspect Robert Murat.

Note of despair, 10 August 2008
Gerry's note of despair
Gerry's timeline (Click to enlarge)

Note of despair News of the World (no online link, appears in paper edition only)
Scribbled by a desperate dad, this is Gerry McCann's timeline of the fateful night. It was written shortly after the kidnap as he tried to piece together clues for cops. The note, on the back of a child's sticker book, covers the 90 minutes up to Madeleine's disappearance which he cannot bear to describe. It ends "10pm - alarm raised after Kate..." 
Gerry's timeline:
8.45pm. all assembled at poolside for food
9.00pm. Matt Oldfield listens at all 3 windows 5A, B, D ALL shutters down
9:15pm Gerry McCann looks at room A ? Door open to bedroom
9:20pm Jane Tanner checks 5D - [sees stranger walking carrying a child]
9.30 Russell O'Brien in 5D. Poorly daughter
10:00pm. Alarm raised after Kate

Drogheda businessman told police he saw Gerry McCann carrying a child towards the beach the day Maddie disappeared, 10 August 2008
Drogheda businessman told police he saw Gerry McCann carrying a child towards the beach the day Maddie disappeared The Irish Mail on Sunday (no online link, appears in paper edition)
10 August 2008
Father-of-six gave garda a signed statement saying he and his wife were ''60 to 80% sure'' that the man they saw holding the child was Maddie's father.

The claim, which was taken seriously by the Portuguese police, was made almost four months after Maddie disappeared on May 3rd this year.

Since then the McCanns have been totally exonerated of any involvement.

Mr. Smith had initally told police he had seen a man carrying a child that night, but that he couldn't identify him because he had not been wearing his glasses. The following September, however, the businessman saw clips of the McCanns returning from their holidays and said the footage of Mr McCann carrying his younger child had instantly reminded him of the mystery man.

''I would be 60 to 80% sure that it was Gerry McCann that I met that night carrying a child," Mr Smith said in his statement. ''It was the way Mr. McCann turned his head down that was similar... It may have been the way he was carrying his child.

''I am basing this on his mannerism, in the way he carried the child off the plane.''

Mr Smiths claim was passed to the Portuguese police who took it as more evidence in support of their mistaken belief that the McCanns had something to do with their daughter's disappearence.

Friends of the McCann family said last night that the decision of the Portuguese police to pursue Mr Smith's claims prove that they were determined to pin the blame on Maddie's parents come what may.

One said ''Look at the facts. This man sees an individual carrying a child on the night Madeleine vanished. He waits 13 days to report this to the police, going back to Ireland.

"The McCanns returning to England - It was this image that alerted Mr Smith in the meantime. At this stage he admits he has no idea who the man is, other than a basic description. A further three, almost four months go by before, after seeing him on television, he feels it could be Gerry.

''By now the police have dozens of statements putting Gerry back at the apartment complex at that time. Yet the Portuguese ask a combination of the Leicestershire police and the Garda to re-interview this witness. About what??

''And why? The truth is that this is part of the victimisation of Gerry and Kate which has gone on from the very beginning by the Portuguese,who were clearly desperate to get something against them."

The extraordinary saga began on the night of May 3rd 2007, as Martin and his wife, Mary, walked back from a local pub in Praia da Luz to their apartment with members of his family. They had decided to return to their apartment within an hour of dining out becasue their son, Peter, was catching an early morning flight the next day.

As they made their way back, they crossed paths with a slim man with a full head of chestnut coloured hair and dressed in beige trousers coming in the opposite direction.

It was 9.55 pm and the man was carrying a sleeping little blonde girl of about 4-years of age. The child's head was was resting on the man's left shoulder.

At this stage Maddie had already disappeared but the Smiths were unaware that a child had gone missing from PDL.

It was not until the following morning that a family member living in Ireland told them of Madeleine's disappearence. Mr Smith returned to Ireland six days after the litle girl went missing and it was another 2 weeks before he travelled back to Portugal to make a statement about what he saw that night.

In the statement to Portuguese police on May 26th, the grandfather -who wears glasses but was not wearing them at the night in question - said he would not be able to identify the man he saw.

Significantly though he was able to tell Police that the man was not Robert Murat, as he had met him on a number of previous occasions.

After making his statement, Mr Smtih returned to Drogheda and it was not until four months later that that he made contact with the police again.

This weekend, Mr Smith's wfe Mary told the Mail on Sunday her husband had no regrets about coming forward.

He [Martin] doesn't want to talk, said Mrs Smith. He said what he had to say. I was with him [that night]. We saw a man carrying a child and that's all we know. We told them all that and that's it.

''The man he saw had the same stature as Gerry McCann. We felt we had to help. We're happy we did. We reported exactly what we saw.

"We only did what we thought was right for a missing girl and our hearts are breaking for her parents, as it would be if it were one of ours.

''I feel very much for them [the McCanns]. I have six grandchildren of my own and six children of my own.

"The poor McCann family must be heartbroken.''

Portuguese police ignored 'kidnapper in the shadows' outside Madeleine's bedroom, 11 August 2008
Portuguese police ignored 'kidnapper in the shadows' outside Madeleine's bedroom Daily Mail
Last updated at 9:44 AM on 11th August 2008
Police failed to investigate a previous suspected abduction attempt from Kate and Gerry McCann's holiday apartment, it was disclosed yesterday.
A babysitter spotted a man lurking in the shadows outside apartment 5A while she was looking after a young girl inside.
But Portuguese police searching for missing Madeleine McCann dismissed her account as 'irrelevant' and refused to investigate.
The failure, one of a host of missed opportunities, was revealed in the mammoth files released last week.
It emerged as police in Belgium continued to trawl through CCTV footage from a bank in Brussels where a security guard reported seeing a girl resembling Madeleine last week.
The McCanns' private detectives are working on a theory that Madeleine was abducted and taken to Belgium on the orders of a paedophile gang who had seen a photograph of her taken by a 'spotter' in Portugal.
Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said their detectives were working on all the missed clues in the police files.
He said: 'Kate and Gerry hoped from the outset that the police were following up every lead in the most thorough and professional manner possible. Where any information is found not to have been followed up, our investigators are working on it, all of it.'
The case files showed that Margaret Hall, a babysitter at the Mark Warner resort, was interviewed by detectives working for the McCanns from the Spanish-based agency Metodo 3 last year.
They handed their report, marked 'Very Confidential', to the Portuguese police.
It said Miss Hall had been in apartment 5A with a young girl in September 2006  -  eight months before Madeleine's disappearance  -  when she heard a noise outside.
She went to investigate, the statement said, adding: 'In a dark area she noticed something was moving and thought it was a rat.
'She was shocked when, on closer examination, she saw it was the brown shoe of a man. She shouted and the man came out of the darkness, activating movement-sensitive lights. He walked towards her, saying "No, no".'
The incident happened on a Thursday night  -  the same night Madeleine was taken.
But an internal Portuguese police memo said the report 'seems to us to be out-dated and of no relevance to the material under investigation'.
Detectives also failed to question George Brooks, 61, from Liverpool, who reported seeing a couple carrying a child near the local marina only hours after Madeleine vanished.
A friend of the McCanns, of Rothley, Leicestershire, said last night: 'The way the Policia Judiciaria dismissed a lot of the leads is astonishing. At the moment Kate and Gerry are concentrating on the Belgium sighting, as it was the most recent.'
A guard at the KBC bank in Brussels says he saw a blonde, blue-eyed girl with a Moroccan-looking woman last Monday.
The McCanns now have detectives working around the world at a reported cost of 166,000 a month.
Among the possible sightings they are following up, also apparently ignored by the Portuguese, is one by a British yachtsman on the Caribbean island of Margarita last May.
Trevor Francis, 64, of Worthing, West Sussex, said: 'I saw the little blemish in her right eye. She was the absolute image of Madeleine.'
He said the girl was in a restaurant with three women who looked Spanish. She seemed 'sullen' and refused to eat.

Portuguese police ignored tip off about abductor in Maddy case, 11 August 2008
Portuguese police ignored tip off about abductor in Maddy case Daily Mirror

By Victoria Ward in Praia da Luz

Newly-released evidence reveals a man tried to abduct a child at McCanns' flat 8 months before Maddy was taken..

A suspected abductor was spotted spying on Madeleine McCann's flat before she vanished - but Portuguese police ignored the tip-off, it emerged yesterday.

British babysitter Margaret Hall was caring for a girl aged six in the same apartment when she saw the prowler lurking in the dark and peering inside.

A statement and his description were passed to officers - who dismissed it as irrelevant, their files on the bungled probe reveal.

Last night a friend of Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry branded the police reaction "astonishing".

The couple's private Metodo 3 detectives will now urgently pursue the potentially vital lead.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry hoped from the outset that police were following up every lead in the most thorough and professional manner possible.

"Where any information is found to not have been followed up, our private investigators are working on it, all of it."

Their zeal is in marked contrast to that of local cops, who shrugged off the report as "of no relation to the...investigation" and never bothered to contact Margaret.

British police intelligence has suggested Madeleine may have been snatched on May 3 last year days after being snapped by a spotter for Belgian paedophiles.

Margaret had reported her autumn 2006 sighting to Metodo 3 in November 2007 and they informed police. Parents of the youngster she was looking after were out for the night and had warned her about rodents in Apartment 5A at Praia da Luz's Ocean Club complex.

Margaret encountered the prowler as she went to check for rats at about 12.30am.

The Metodo 3 statement given to official detectives reveals: "She left by the main entrance and, in a dark area, with movement sensitive lights, she noticed something moving and thought it was a rat.

"She was shocked when on closer examination she saw it was the brown shoe of a man who was peeping in the dark area outside the apartment.

"She shouted and the man came out of the darkness, activating the lights. He walked towards her and said, 'No, no'."

The prowler was said to be aged 23-25, of Mediterranean appearance and with long, black curly hair. He wore light trousers and a checked blue shirt.

Margaret is convinced he had a Portuguese accent.

Kate and Gerry's pal Jane Tanner has told police that on the night Madeleine vanished she saw a dark-haired man in beige trousers carrying a child and hurrying from the direction of the flat.

Margaret reported her sighting to her boss but he was more bothered about a rat infestation.

The babysitter - who spent six months working for the Ocean Club complex until November 2006 - contacted Metodo 3 via their helpline.

The Spanish private sleuths met Portuguese police on November 14 last year and passed on the tip-off. But Portuguese officers dismissed it out of hand because the sighting came around eight months before Madeleine vanished.

Their 30,000 pages of case notes reveal: "The director of M3 (Metodo 3) handed us a small notepad with information relating to Madeleine's disappearance.

"They said the information had come from their Spanish Madeleine helpline.

"We notice that it reports facts which took place in August/Sept of 2006, which seems to us outdated and of no relation to the material under investigation."

British nanny Charlotte Pennington worked at the resort last year and said she had heard reports of a suspicious man lurking around apartments.

Meanwhile, it has emerged police failed to quiz Liverpool man George Brooks, 61, who saw a suspicious couple carrying a child in Praia da Luz hours after Madeleine vanished.

By the time police finally visited the restaurant where he worked, he had left and they made no further effort to contact him.

Several holidaymakers also told police about a man behaving strangely near Praia da Luz.

Metodo 3

Spanish private investigators, based in Barcelona, are said to be being paid £50,000 a day to hunt for Madeleine.

Since taking on the case it has received 16,000 calls from potential witnesses.

Probe hit 'dead end' last year, 12 August 2008
Probe hit 'dead end' last year The Sun
Published: Today, 12 August 2008
THE judge in the Maddie McCann probe decided investigations were at a "dead end" — seven months before Kate and Gerry were cleared, it emerged last night.
Prosecutors had asked several times for permission to access SMS texts and mobile locations of the McCanns' Tapas Nine holiday pals, the police case files reveal.
This was denied until December 12 when Judge Pedro Anjos Frias relented, stating: "It is evident the investigation is at a dead end.
"Therefore, the information requested by the prosecution should be provided by telephone operators, as from them there may be results."
But it was not until July 21 this year the McCanns had their arguidos status removed.
The files also show that police — led by chief Goncalo Amaral — had decided on the outcome of the case after just 47 days.
Cops said they had searched 1,500 places but reached a stalemate.
The files also contain criticism of the first cops at the flat after Maddie disappeared.
Joao Barreiras, scenes of crime specialist, said: "The people went all around the house without care for the preservation of the crime scene."
Mark Harrison, UK search adviser, also claimed most of the police search team were not trained to look for a missing girl.

'No evidence Maddie has been harmed', 15 August 2008
'No evidence Maddie has been harmed' The Sun
Published: Today, 15 August 2008
GERRY McCann today affirmed his belief that official Portuguese police files showed there was "absolutely no evidence" his missing daughter Madeleine had been seriously harmed.
He said his family "strongly believed" the little girl could still be found and made a fresh appeal for information from the public.
Thousands of documents from the massive dossier of evidence assembled by detectives over more than 14 months were made public last week.
They include forensic reports, witness statements, police intelligence and details of hundreds of possible sightings of Madeleine reported around the world.
Also in the file is the final 58-page report written by the Portuguese public prosecutors, who ruled on July 21 that the case should be shelved.
They concluded it was "most probable" Madeleine was now dead – but noted that police had not been able to prove this for certain.
Gerry and wife Kate, both 40, from Rothley, Leicestershire, said they would believe their daughter was still alive until shown concrete evidence to the contrary.
Last September Portuguese police named the couple as "arguidos", or formal suspects, in Madeleine's disappearance, but this status was lifted with the shelving of the case.
Private detectives for the McCanns are now following up leads gleaned from the case files, including a series of possible links to Belgium and Holland.
In his latest blog on the official Find Madeleine website, Gerry wrote: "It is over three weeks since we learned that the Portuguese authorities had closed the investigation to find Madeleine, lifted our arguido status and ended judicial secrecy.
"We were surprised that copies of investigation files were given to the media. The content of these files has been extensively reported.
"It will be clear to everyone now, that there is absolutely no evidence that suggests Madeleine has been seriously harmed.
"Knowing this, we strongly believe that Madeleine is out there and can be found.
"Of course whoever is responsible for Madeleine's abduction must, and can be, found, to prevent them from putting another child and family through the misery we have suffered.
"We have always believed that this heinous crime could be solved with the help of the public."
He added: "Our investigators continue to explore credible leads and will continue to do so as long as Madeleine is missing."

Gerry: Madeleine Can Still Be Found, 15 August 2008
Gerry: Madeleine Can Still Be Found Sky News
1:11pm UK, Friday August 15, 2008
Gerry McCann has said he believes that Portuguese police files showed there was "absolutely no evidence" his missing daughter Madeleine had been seriously harmed.
Mr McCann said his family "strongly believed" the little girl could still be found and made a fresh appeal for information from the public.
Thousands of documents from the huge dossier of evidence assembled by detectives over more than 14 months have been made public.
They include forensic reports, witness statements, police intelligence and details of hundreds of possible sightings of Madeleine reported around the world.
Also in the file is the final 58-page report written by the Portuguese public prosecutors, who ruled on July 21 that the case should be shelved.
They said it was "most probable" Madeleine was dead but felt that police had not been able to prove this for certain.
Mr McCann and his wife Kate, both 40, from Rothley, Leicestershire, said they would believe their daughter was still alive until shown hard evidence to the contrary.
Last September Portuguese police named the couple as "arguidos", or formal suspects in Madeleine's disappearance but this status has been lifted with the shelving of the case.
In Gerry McCann's latest blog on the official Find Madeleine website, he wrote: "We strongly believe that Madeleine is out there and can be found.
Mr McCann has urged anyone who provided information to Portuguese police to contact the family's team of detectives by e-mailing or calling 0845 838 4699.

Madeleine McCann: Prowler in the shadows, 20 August 2008
Madeleine McCann: Prowler in the shadows Daily Mirror
Headline later amended to: Madeleine McCann: Nanny's new sketch echoes picture of kidnapper
Exclusive by Paul Byrne and Graham Brough

Madeleine suspect (Pic:Photonews)
Madeleine suspect (Pic:Photonews)

This is the shadowy figure seen lurking in the bushes outside the flat from where Madeleine McCann vanished.

And the woman who confronted the straggly-haired stranger eight months before is convinced he is the same man family friend Jane Tanner spotted carrying a child in pyjamas the night Maddy disappeared.

Despite telling police, British nanny Margaret Hall was not asked to help with an artist's impression.

Now, thanks to the Daily Mirror, a sketch of his face can be seen for the first time.

Margaret yesterday told the Mirror she saw the prowler hiding in the dark as she left through the back entrance after baby-sitting at apartment 5A of the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, the year before Maddy was taken from the appartment.

She screamed in terror as the unshaven figure stepped out.

His movement set off a security light and the nanny clearly saw his face. "He came towards me saying 'no, no'. I just turned round and ran back to the apartment," she said.

Shaking with fear, she was later led back to her own flat.

The man had vanished but Margaret, 51, reported the incident to bosses at the resort the next day.

She was back in the UK when she heard of Maddy's disappearance in May last year - and a chill ran down her spine when she realised the little girl had been taken from the apartment where she had worked.

Her mind immediately pictured the scruffy, long-haired stranger.

She told police in her home town of Bolton and was interviewed but no photofit was ever issued.

Margaret later saw the sketch of a man carrying a young girl in pyjamas and instinctively she thought to herself: "That's him."

It had been made from details given by Jane Tanner, a pal of Gerry and Kate McCann.

Margaret added: "My description of the man is very similar to that of Jane Tanner's.

"He had long hair but it was quite scruffy and straggly looking.

"He had said 'no' in English but he was not English because of his skin colouring. He looked more Portuguese than anything."

After hearing nothing from the police in the UK, she went straight to Metodo 3, the private investigators working for Kate and Gerry.

They passed her information to Portuguese police, who dismissed it as being "out-dated".

Her information only came to light after Portuguese officers released all their files relating to Maddy earlier this month.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files


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